During 2014/15 the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received 191,727 emergency calls from across Northern Ireland. An emergency ambulance attended and delivered care to the patient for 178,350 emergency incidents, arriving within 8 minutes for 73,156 of those calls requiring an ambulance.
As a regional ambulance service we operate from one Emergency Ambulance Control (EAC) Centre based at Ambulance Headquarters in Belfast. Everytime we receive a 999 call from a member of the public, our call handlers known as Emergency Medical Dispatchers use advanced bespoke software systems to put the call into one of the three categories based on the clinical/medical urgency of the call. These systems allow our Control staff to provide those making a 999 call with pre-arrival medical advice in advance of the ambulance arriving with them. It also permits us to prioritise calls to ensure those in need receive the appropriate response.
Emergency Medical Dispatchers ask a series of carefully structured questions so that 999 calls can be put into one of three categories A, B or C, appropriate to its categorisation.
Category A – The most serious calls – those where there is, potentially, an immediate threat to life
Category B – Those calls which are serious, but not life-threatening
Category C – Those which are neither serious nor life-threatening
We have a range of highly-skilled frontline operational staff who will treat our patients.
999 calls are responded to by the nearest available ambulance or appropriate resource.